Rapids U-16's start Finals Week with comeback draw

Venta-Yepes and Jimenez score for Colorado against De Anza Force in first finals match

The Colorado Rapids Under-16 Team completed an exciting comeback to earn a 2-2 draw against De Anza Force in the first match of the Development Academy Finals Week in Houston on Sunday evening. After going down 2-0 with 25 minutes left in the match, Edward Venta-Yepes and Daniel Jimenez each scored to earn the tie.

The Rapids had dug themselves a hole early in the match, conceding a penalty after 16 minutes. While goalkeeper Hayden Davis made the save on De Anza’s spot kick, the rebound fell back to the shooter’s feet and he made the best of his second effort to give the Northern California-based club.  Colorado was almost able to tie the game before the intermission, with Hayden Heinrich hitting the post with just two minutes from the end of the 40-minute half.

Colorado maintained its pressure at the start of the second half, with a Venta-Yepes shot saved by De Anza’s goalkeeper, and the rebound headed just wide by Kortne Thompson-Ford. However, De Anza took a 2-0 lead against the run of play with a hit from the top of the box with 25 minutes left.

The comeback started in the 57th minute when Venta-Yepes got the Rapids on the board, curling a left-footed shot in from distance to pull the deficit to just one goal. A lightning delay with 17 minutes remaining slowed the match down, but after a 15-minute stoppage, the Rapids captured their equalizer almost immediately. After a turnover, Jimenez was able to chip the De Anza goalkeeper from 15 yards to make it 2-2.

With nine minutes left, another lightning delay stopped play for 75 minutes, and neither team was able to find a winner once play resumed.

Finals Week is the end of the 2012-13 Development Academy season, with just eight clubs from 80 around the country at the U-16 and U-18 levels advancing this far. The U-16’s are competing to earn the title of the best club at their age group in the nation, and can top the Rapids U-18’s which finished 6th in the country after participating in Finals Week after the 2011-12 season.

The Rapids U-16’s have two matches remaining in the group stage, facing Solar Chelsea SC of Dallas on Tuesday evening, and Crew Soccer Academy Wolves of Michigan on Thursday. The Rapids will then play one additional match to determine their final placement among the Finals Week participants.

Rapids U-16’s Lineup vs. De Anza Force:
Hayden Davis, Enda O'Neill, Quentin Pearson, Kortne Thompson-Ford, Bryce Montes, Jacob Smits-Kagoshima, Dakota Peterson, Jovanni Chavez, Victor Rolph, Edward Venta-Yepes, Hayden Heinrich (Daniel Jimenez 62')